Taking the Chimp for a Long Run

I’m sure I’m not alone in having moments whilst on a long run (Or any “Easy” run) where you think to yourself “This is a real struggle – how the hell can I run faster than this for a race?”

I’ve experienced it time and time and time again. On Sunday I was out on my 14 miler and after 5 miles I could really feel it in my legs. It was the sort of run where I was counting down every mile, praying to get to the end in one piece and having to talk myself out walking about once every 9 seconds.

My long run pacing for this training cycle is meant to be about 90s slower than my Half Marathon pace. Which I managed to just about cling on to. CLING being the operative word!

The other 8 out of 9 seconds I was constantly questioning “7:35 per mile?! I’ve got no chance!”. I felt really negative about it.

I totally ignored the fact that this was actually 90s faster than my long run pace I trained for the Paris marathon – a huge improvement.

I also ignored that this was the pace I completed the Paris Marathon in – my proudest achievement to date.

This is what Steve Peters would call listening to your Chimp. I’ve not read his book “The Chimp Paradox“, but plan on getting it soon after hearing so many positive things about it. Basically the chimp is the voice inside your head telling you that you can’t do something, that its all going wrong, that the wheels are falling off.

My chimp was bloody screaming at me on Sunday.

It’s only when I finished the run that I was able to add some perspective.

  • The pace is something I’d have been immensely impressed with only 6 months ago
  • I’m reaching the peak mileage of a training plan – I’m supposed to be feeling uncomfortable now
  • Trust in the taper, it’s designed to let your legs recover to give you that quicker pace
  • Your doing loads more elevation than you will in any race
  • You’ve gone through this before EVERY target race and it’s always been fine come the race

But it’s easier said than done! I have one more long run (15 miler in 2 weeks time) in my peak week and I’m tempted to print those five bullet points off and tape them to my arm to remind me!

How do you keep the chimp off your back?

Training: W/C 18th August 2014

Usual training roundup!

Last Week

Monday: 5m Easy – Still away for work so this will be 5 miles as and when I can get them. I was away for work, and before I went I had all the good intentions to complete all my runs, but the practicalities of the situation meant I just had to get in what I could. So I squeezed in this 5 miler early doors. It wasn’t the nicest run, and the route I had planned was based upon the postcode I was given for the accommodation – but didn’t bank on that being wrong! So I just did an out and back. [Garmin Activity]

Tuesday: 7m Easy – Supposed to be a club run, but away with work so who knows where this will take me! See above. Unfortunately due to time constraints, this was cancelled. I could have run this early, but I was exhausted and would have meant getting up at 5.30 – body said no!

Wednesday: 20/15mins Tempo – Extending my Threshold runs again, hopefully I’ll get through this relatively unscathed! After missing my long run and ‘yesterday’s’ 7 miler I was apprehensive about this. But I needn’t have been. Totally nailed it! [Garmin Activity]

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 10 x 2mins Hill Repeats – Usual hill, just extra reps of it. My least favourite session, but probably the most beneficial! Oh. My. God. This was tough. It was very consistent, getting within about 2 meters on every rep (Despite what the Garmin said) and I managed to stop the workout midway through so the activities are a bit weird. But on the whole a good session. Don’t fancy doing it again in a hurry though! [Garmin Activity | Part 2]

Saturday: 5m Easy – Will probably run to parkrun. No run to parkrun this week, had a day out with the missus and she was nice enough to make dinner for me so I could squeeze this one in. REALLY felt it in the legs though, after Friday’s session. [Garmin Activity]

Sunday: 14m LSR – Rescheduled from last week. Didn’t think it wise to jump straight up to 15. Started well, got in a lot of elevation, but man, my legs struggled. I think Friday was still recovering in my legs. That and I think I probably should have taken water with me. Felt very uncomfortable after 8 miles, but gritted my teeth and got through it.  [Garmin Activity]

This Week

Monday: 5m Easy – Usual easy 5 miler. No Josh so just with Simon this week.

Tuesday: Club Run – Depending how the legs feel I’ll try the 6 or 7 miler. Last time out though, the 7 miler became closer to 8 which I really don’t fancy with a tempo run the day after, so will do an easy run regardless.

Wednesday: 20/15/5mins Tempo – Bit more running at threshold. Need to extend the route though, ran out of road last time out!

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 7 x 1km Intervals – A tasty speed session. Will run the ninesprings paths again, as a route for comparison with when I did 6 x 1km a couple of weeks back. Also, rather than running it at the old planned pace, think I’ll try them at the 1mi pace I ran last week (About 6.40m/m) and see how I get on.

Saturday: Rest or 3m Recovery – As I’m racing Sunday I don’t want to over exert the legs. If I get the opportunity to run at parkrun, I’ll do it at 30m pace, otherwise I think I’ll pass and just take a walk instead.

Sunday: RACE – Battle of Sedgemoor 10k – Good flat local race organised by Langport Runners. My target for this is to go sub 45 minutes. I think I have it in me, just need to rest up and have good confidence in myself. Figers crossed!

Crisis Averted!

Well yesterdays little crisis in confidence passed shortly after I completed my Tempo run. With both Tempo Intervals at an average of 7.14m/m, right in the top end of my threshold zone, and with the recovery and cool down feeling comfortable, I feel pretty chuffed with myself. Unfortunately its the Hill session of doom tomorrow! Eeek!

Work, Travel and Training

This past weekend I had to attend a trade show for work. This meant 3 nights away from home. I thought I had it all planned out. I had routes mapped and good intentions to do what I needed to do. I was with 2 colleagues as well, which meant that we all had shared transport.

The first problem with working away is diet. 3 nights away, 3 meals I COULD have chosen healthier options than I did, and 3 nights I had a couple of beers and wines. I think had I been on my own it would have been easier to make a conscious decision about this, but with the social aspect of working away it is much harder for me to make that decision.

On Sunday, my usual Long Run day, we didn’t finish the event til 6pm, and after that my colleagues wanted to eat. After that point it was 8pm and I just ran out of time. On Monday I got up early for an easy 5 miler, and on Tuesday I had planned to do the same but for 7 miles. Unfortunately I was so tired – these trade events are harder work than they look – that I just needed to stay in bed, especially with a long day and travel home to contend with too.

So in the last 3 days I have only run 1 of a planned 3 runs. So in the grand scheme of things I haven’t actually missed too much running. Also, I’ve overeaten a bit. Not a lot, and nothing a week’s strict food control won’t undo.

So WHY OH WHY does it feel like I’ve taken a massive step backwards?! I have a tempo run scheduled for tonight and I am dreading it. I feel fat. I feel like I’m going to be slower than a sloth swimming in treacle.

And I’ve missed 2 easy runs.

Damn you brain!

But on a more serious or practical note, how do you deal with training when you are working away? Or am I the only one that has a psychological breakdown over this, quite frankly, ridiculous reason?!

Training: W/C 11th August 2014

Its been over a week since my last post! Sorry folks. We were acquired by another company and my kind has been on other things incluyding having to go to a work event this weekend which messed up my running! More details below 🙂

Last Week

Monday: 5m Easy – Probably without Josh, think we’ll do the Lyde Road loop with plenty of elevation! No Josh, so just me and Simon, but did a tough little figure of 8 loop around Hendford Hill and Bunford. [Garmin Activity]

Tuesday: Club Run – Will do the 6-7 mile option as usual. Nope, had to attend a work function in the evening so switched to 7 easy miles in the early morning instead. [Garmin Activity]

Wednesday: 2 x 15mins Tempo Run – Same amount of minutes/volume as last week, but will test the endurance a little more by not having the extra break and doing them back to back. Managed this quite well. The pace was in the lower end of the zone, but still in it. [Garmin Activity]

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 5 x 1mi Intervals – Not looking forward to this! This is the session I really struggled with last time out, and now have added an extra rep. Have increased the rest by 1 minute between reps and hopefully the weather will be a touch kinder too. Also, I think I’ll run the intervals on the Ninesprings cycle path too, as I quite liked doing it there when I did the 1kms. I ended up changing plan and ran a loop, letting my Garmin tell me when to stop and rest. I had to double check the results against google maps afterwards – the intervals were a blistering pace averageing about 6.45m/m – which is too fast really. But it felt so good! [Garmin Activity]

Saturday: 5m Easy – Will do this after parkrun in all likelihood before I travel to Birmingham for work. I actually ran parkrun, and did an extra loop to top it up to 5miles. [Garmin Activity]

Sunday: 14m LSR – Have plotted a route around our Birmingham residence, so should be nice to see some different scenery. Well this got totally shelved. Just had absolutely no time to do it. Disappointed but I can’t let that get me down!

Next Week

Monday: 5m Easy – Still away for work so this will be 5 miles as and when I can get them.

Tuesday: 7m Easy – Supposed to be a club run, but away with work so who knows where this will take me!

Wednesday: 20/15mins Tempo – Extending my Threshold runs again, hopefully I’ll get through this relatively unscathed!

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 10 x 2mins Hill Repeats – Usual hill, just extra reps of it. My least favourite session, but probably the most beneficial!

Saturday: 5m Easy – Will probably run to parkrun

Sunday: 14m LSR – Rescheduled from last week. Didn’t think it wise to jump straight up to 15.

Training: W/C 4th August 2014

So first a review of last weeks activities. Here is what I had planned and how the sessions went.

Last Week

Monday: 5m Easy – The usual 5miles with Josh and Simon, will be doing a flatter route though after a tough last 5 days running. Josh didn’t make it, but we did the usual flat route just tagged an extra mile on the end. [Garmin Activity]

Tuesday: Club Run – Probably the 6ish mile option. This will probably get shelved to an early run or a thursday run as am probably going to the seaside with Jodie and family! Yep got up super early and did 7 easy miles instead. [Garmin Activity]

Wednesday: 15/10/5mins Tempo – My threshold intervals increase again. These are really tough but I think they are giving me the most benefit. its good to ramp these up a bit at a time! I was really worried about this run for some reason, I thought I was in no shape for it but it felt awesome! Smashed it! [Garmin Activity]

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 8 x 2mins Hill Repeats – Usual Hendford Hill repeats in all likelihood, but may have to change it up as I’ll be going to Basingstoke either Friday or Saturday so will need to fit this in somewhere. Went to Basingstoke on Saturday so got this session in as usual. All my reps were of similar distance (Within 10 meters) though the sensitivity of the watch doesn’t record it all accurately all the time, but they were on par with last time’s efforts, with an extra 2 reps. [Garmin Activity]

Saturday: 5m Easy – If I’m in Yeovil, I’ll run this super early. If I’m in Basingstoke, I’ll run Basingstoke parkrun instead. Yeovil, super early option. I actually only managed 4.2 miles as I had an overwhelming toilet call and literally had to stop there and then. [Garmin Activity]

Sunday: 13m LSR – Most likely a leisurely early one in Basingstoke to avoid the heat. Good early start on a nice route helped along by Endomondo on my phone keeping me on track. Had 2 close calls on the toilet front so had a little stop at Jodie’s Nan’s  and ran with Jodie for a bit before motoring on. Also made up the 0.8ish miles I had to abandon on Saturday. [Garmin Activity]

wc4thjuly

This Week

Monday: 5m Easy – Probably without Josh, think we’ll do the Lyde Road loop with plenty of elevation!

Tuesday: Club Run – Will do the 6-7 mile option as usual.

Wednesday: 2 x 15mins Tempo Run – Same amount of minutes/volume as last week, but will test the endurance a little more by not having the extra break and doing them back to back.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 5 x 1mi Intervals – Not looking forward to this! This is the session I really struggled with last time out, and now have added an extra rep. Have increased the rest by 1 minute between reps and hopefully the weather will be a touch kinder too. Also, I think I’ll run the intervals on the Ninesprings cycle path too, as I quite liked doing it there when I did the 1kms.

Saturday: 5m Easy – Will do this after parkrun in all likelihood before I travel to Birmingham for work.

Sunday: 14m LSR – Have plotted a route around our Birmingham residence, so should be nice to see some different scenery.

New Rides!

If you’ve read the My Kit page, you’ll know my current preferred shoe of choice is the Asics Gel Kayano 20. I was recommended these shoes after having a video gait analysis at Tri UK in Yeovil. Watching the analysis I could clearly see they corrected my overpronation, so I bit the bullet and picked them up for £140.

Yes, I know I could have gotten them cheaper online. However, the Tri UK staff were excellent, helpful and friendly I knew I had been sold the right shoes. So I didn’t mind paying a few extra pounds for them.

They were probably the best investment I ever made running wise. They were so comfortable and supportive, I knew I had found a winning pair of shoes.

But a couple of weeks ago one of the shoes developed a hole in the toebox.

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No Toes…

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Toes!

Concerned, I checked how long I had been running in these for – and it turned out I’d done 420 miles in them! Typically, a pair of running shoes is quoted at having a useful life of 500 miles. For some people, they last a lot longer, but this depends on your running style, technique and size.

As quite a hefty person (Though still much less hefty than I used to be) I don’t expect them to last much beyond the 500 mile mark. When previous shoes have reached this range I’ve started getting muscle niggles, so I know I need to change at the 500 mile threshold, no questions asked. Especially when you look at the soles and you can see they are pretty well worn away.

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I’d also noticed that the padding/liner at the heel had seen better days, but this is something I’ve experienced in every pair of trainers I’ve ever owned, for any purpose, ever.

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If it had been more than a year since my last gait analysis, I would have gone back to Tri UK to get re-analysed. After all, you would expect after a years running your technique to have improved, the shoes to have some degree affected your pronation, and therefore your gait may change, meaning you might need different shoes. As it had only been a few months I decided to get straight online and buy another pair of the same shoe.

I would only ever buy online (I.E. without being professionally analysed/fitted) if I knew the shoe was exactly the same and I could get it in the same size. The Gel Kayano 19 is marginally different to the Gel Kayano 20 for example – so even in the same product range you can find differences. This approach isn’t for everyone, but I like to think a properly fitted pair of shoes can prevent injury (And you know they won’t cause you to blister!) and so far this has proven to be the case.

There are a few colour options for the Gel Kayano 20s and I was initially looking at them in Red, but I came across the “Lite Show” variant and loved them. It helped that ordering direct from asics.co.uk was the cheapest way to buy them (I got them for £99 though they are now £140!), with free delivery!

asics-gel-kayano-20-lite-show-1_1000_1000They fit the same as the old ones and the look of these shows how much I have changed as a runner. I used to be all about the plain black trainers so no-one could see me. Now I want to whole world to see me run!

I’ve retired the black and gold pair and will use them for off road, very rainy or mud running.

I took the new rides out for a tough hill repeat session tonight. My feet felt like they were in heaven! The somehow felt lighter and faster! They almost certainly are neither but they felt bloody good – here’s to the next 500 miles!

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Weigh In

Last week was a tremendous result for me. So much so i thought it could have been an anomaly. That, coupled with the fact I have had a particularly average week food wise (I wasn’t bad, but I certainly wasn’t as controlled as I should have been) I wasn’t going to weigh myself today.

But that would have just been burying my head in the sand, and I’m not scared of the scales any more. So I weighed myself just to remain accountable for my actions!

And I stayed the same weight.

A pleasing result, and a platform for me to work on next week when I can be a little more disciplined.